This Land Is Mine

I envisioned This Land Is Mine as the last scene of my potential-possible-maybe- feature film, Seder-Masochism, but it’s the first (and so far only) scene I’ve animated. As the Bible says, “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

This Land Is Mine from Nina Paley on Vimeo.

Who’s Killing Who? A Viewer’s Guide

Because you can’t tell the players without a pogrom!

Early Man


Early Man
This generic “cave man” represents the first human settlers in Israel/Canaan/the Levant. Whoever they were.




What did ancient Canaanites look like? I don’t know, so this is based on ancient Sumerian art.

Ancient Egyptian



Canaan was located between two huge empires. Egypt controlled it sometimes, and…




….Assyria controlled it other times.




The “Children of Israel” conquered the shit out of the region, according to bloody and violent Old Testament accounts.




Then the Baylonians destroyed their temple and took the Hebrews into exile.





Here comes Alexander the Great, conquering everything!




No sooner did Alexander conquer everything, than his generals divided it up and fought with each other.




Greek descendants of Ptolemy, another of Alexander’s competing generals, ruled Egypt dressed like Egyptian god-kings. (The famous Cleopatra of western mythology and Hollywood was a Ptolemy.)




More Greek-Macedonian legacies of Alexander.


Hebrew Priest

Hebrew Priest
This guy didn’t fight, he just ran the Second Temple re-established by Hebrews in Jerusalem after the Babylonian Exile.


Led by Judah “The Hammer” Maccabee, who fought the Seleucids, saved the Temple, and invented Channukah. Until…




….the Romans destroyed the Second Temple and absorbed the region into the Roman Empire…




….which split into Eastern and Western Empires. The eastern part was called the Byzantine Empire. I don’t know if “Romans” ever fought “Byzantines” (Eastern Romans) but this is a cartoon.





Arab Caliph
Speaking of cartoon, what did an Arab Caliph look like? This was my best guess.




After Crusaders went a-killin’ in the name of Jesus Christ, they established Crusader states, most notably the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

Egyptian Mamluk



Mamluk of Egypt
Wikipedia sez, “Over time, mamluks became a powerful military caste in various Muslim societies…In places such as Egypt from the Ayyubid dynasty to the time of Muhammad Ali of Egypt, mamluks were considered to be “true lords”, with social status above freeborn Muslims.[7]” And apparently they controlled Palestine for a while.


Ottoman Turk


Ottoman Turk
Did I mention this is a cartoon? Probably no one went to battle looking like this. But big turbans, rich clothing and jewelry seemed to be in vogue among Ottoman Turkish elites, according to paintings I found on the Internet.




A gross generalization of a generic 19-century “Arab”.



The British formed alliances with Arabs, then occupied Palestine. This cartoon is an oversimplification, and uses this British caricature as a stand-in for Europeans in general.




The British occupied this guy’s land, only to leave it to a vast influx of….

European Jew/Zionist


European Jew/Zionist
Desperate and traumatized survivors of European pogroms and death camps, Jewish Zionist settlers were ready to fight to the death for a place to call home, but…




….so were the people that lived there. Various militarized resistance movements arose in response to Israel: The Palestinian Liberation Organization, Hamas, and Hezbollah.

State of Israel



Guerrilla/Freedom Fighter/TerroristState of Israel
Backed by “the West,” especially the US, they got lots of weapons and the only sanctioned nukes in the region.


Guerrilla/Freedom Fighter/Terrorist
Sometimes people fight in military uniforms, sometimes they don’t. Creeping up alongside are illicit nukes possibly from Iran or elsewhere in the region. Who’s Next?

Angel of Death




and finally…

The Angel of Death
The real hero of the Old Testament, and right now too.


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1,041 comments to This Land Is Mine

  • Sairjohn

    Almost perfect! Just two repairs: Assyrian should come after Israelite, and a Persian should be between the Babylonian and the first Macedonian.

  • Victor M. Uranga

    Excellent depiction of the chronic problem caused by territorial disputes mixed with religion and politics local and international and out of control egos.

  • jjoh.y eduard

    Eh uaxho repiola amewo

  • jjoh.y eduard

    Que honda camaradas?? Estes video expresa como a Palestrina lo dejaron en sillas de ruedas y a binnladen sin tunica y aparte boca perdio 3 a 0 con atl de rafaela y bianchi se tiene q ir para mi. Aguante chipre y el pescado da cancer.

  • I always thought that Saddam Hussein was no different than any other ruler in Mesopotamia in the past 5,000 years.

    Would have helped if Cheney/Rumsfeld had not kicked all Arabists out of the State Department (or had not completely ignored them) — anyone with half a brain could have seen that toppling Saddam would bring civil war and destabilize the region; not to mention that Saddam and Iran kept each other occupied so we didn’t have to.

    Now we have our “ally” Turkey supporting Islamists in Libya, of all things.

    None of this will end well — much as your work predicts.

  • Leopoldo Gatica

    Holy Land may very well owe its name to the fact of have been irrigated with the blood of countles martyrs!

  • what Chaim said

    Half truths = Worse than lies

    + European Jews are not the only Jews, jews arrived from Yemen and many different places that are not Europe even before the Zionist movement took off..

  • annemarie

    As a Christian American, I admit not having any knowledge of this history. I would have liked a timeline or some dating on the descriptions above. Great work. No idea how accurate this is, but a great way to inspire research.

    Very good job

  • Brilliant!!! Added to the music/video section of the Apocalypti Library at the End of the World:

  • shruti

    i just love your video……it doesn’t matter in what sequence civilizations are appearing……it holds a MUCH GREATER MESSAGE THAN THAT!!!!!!!!!!

  • Wombat

    Das ist echt ein sehr tolles Filmchen größten Respekt. Absolut minimalstisch aber trotzdem präzise auf den Punkt gebracht.

  • Kenneth McKlinski

    Great composition in your distinctive style to present a complex story that spans centuries. One question that I had was whether giving both sides in the most modern conflict AK-47 rifles was an artistic decision or a technical one in not having the Israeli side’s arms that would have been distinctive to their forces (M-16s or uzi’s).

    Keep up the excellent and thought provoking compositions with your work!


  • Love it, blogged it, shared it.

    Peace & all the best
    from East to West

    from here and now
    under the Amsterdamp

    .: live lovely – love lively :.

  • Hi! This video is awesome. I’m sharing it wherever and whenever I can. It is a great work. Well done!

  • benny

    No Salahaddin?

  • Petr

    Again and again Im coming back to this video and I still find it great!

  • Pedro Pontes

    Thank God Rio is far away from this holyland, or may i say blodyland…

  • Charlotte

    brilliant. thank you. agree with previous comments- the detail is not the point. The message is bigger than that. Concerning to remind ourselves that a lot of voters in the western democracy that funds Israel today have no idea of the history. Reminder for all to read more about global history. thank you for making this.

  • lyjn

    The smart message is that whose land is it is a question that makes no sense, and a solution should not be found in inflexible principles of determination of claims to ownership, but rather a pragmatic peaceful solution taking into account the current situation without bias to any narrative of “rights to ownership”.

    Nevertheless, I complain that some “bias” creeped in this blog when Nina talks about the “Palestinians” and says that “The British occupied this guy’s land”.

    So … how ridiculous is that after showing how nobody can really claim ownership … somehow the “Palestinians” are the only ones that can? Where were the Palestinians a 100 years ago? Mostly immigrated from Arab countries following the economic prosperity of the Zionist settlement, many times immigrating illegally and squatting there. Why they are given such a preferential treatment? In addition, Jews that were inhabiting Jerusalem and other towns before WWW2 are not even considered.

    I brief, Nina suffers from unfair bias. I would refer her to her own video.

  • lyjn

    Nina ridiculizes Jews’ claims. Point taken.

    But why Palestinians claims are any better?

    Or how they compare to a potentian territorial claim by the Indian tribe that successfully emerged in Connecticut with the purpose of starting a tax-exempt casino?

  • lyjn

    Nina ridiculizes Jews’ claims. Point taken.

    But why Palestinians claims are any better?

    Or how they compare to a potential territorial claim by an Indian tribe in Connecticut?

  • lyjn

    nina writes:

    “Sometimes people fight in military uniforms, sometimes they don’t.”

    This seems to condone Hamas fighting posing as civilians so that when they are killed they can falsely accuse Israel of killing civilians.

    I want to vorrect Nina’s ignorance of the international law, as stated in the Geneva Convention that parties MUST wear identifying uniforms. Is the law, and not doing so is a war crime.

    Perhaps Nina should have written: People sometimes commit war crimes, sometimes not” next to the Hamas caricature.

    Learn the law in:

  • After the cave man and the Canaanites (who vanished from the region)Jews are the only ORIGINAL people left who were ALWAYS present during the bloody invasions that for about 3500 years swept their country. They were most of the time oppressed and exploited by the invaders, just like, for instance, the American Indians North, Central and South.
    The only difference is, that regardless where they were forced to live on this planet, mostly persecuted and killed, they kept for 2000 years their faith and will to go back to their millenary country. ¡¡THEY MADE IT!! despite the hatred spilled on them by competing religions that sprang later on from their ground breaking philosophical and moral values.

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  • just some olddude

    You really missed the point of the song didn’t you.

  • Liam O'Mara IV

    This is excellent work, and I use it in my Israel/Palestine and modern Middle East courses at university level as a way humorously to introduce the topics. It is a wonderful parody and endlessly entertaining.

    If you are ever interested in a few tweaks that would make it more historically accurate, here are the things that stand out.

    The “early man” example could, if you like, be labelled Natufian, as that is the name archaeologists give to the first settled culture on the land.

    Canaanites are exactly the same culture as the Phoenicians, so their art would have been a better guide than the Sumerian models used.

    Israelites developed out of Canaanite culture and were there before the Egyptians (who defeated them in the 14th & 13th centuries BCE).

    The one following Assyrians should be Judeans, i.e., the southern kingdom, which under Josiah conquered the northern part after the Assyrians pulled out.

    Persians (of the Achaemenid empire) should follow the Babylonians (which ought to be labelled Chaldeans, actually), as they controlled the region for about three centuries and paid for construction of the Second Temple.

    (Having two for the Macedonians/Greeks is redundant and Persians could easily substitute. I always explain it that way when talking to my students, using the first of your Greek models for the Persians.)

    And Maccabee could be labelled Hasmonean, as that was the ruling dynasty established after that revolt against the Seleucids (the last independent temple state in Jewish history).

  • Andre_Rub

    Perhaps in the first scene in the cartoon should show a neanderthal death by a man. I suggest first showing a mountain of other dead species by the first cave man.
    The logic behind these problems are the exponential growth. I add this too with a scene with many children born again and again, generation after generation. These problems are universal in time and space, unfortunately. We should only have one or two children per family, THAT IS THE WAY!

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  • Marie-Helene Leclerc

    I would have added a French soldier of the Napoleonic Wars between the Ottoman Turk and the Arab.

  • TMan

    I laughed my head off at this video. Despite the historical imperfections, the point is well made, and shows a better-than-average understanding of history. Hats off!

    But the author seems to hint at a bias to the Hamas. One wonders if she understands the point of her own video.

  • Marva

    Excellent! I Just Loved This Clip!

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  • Francis Lor

    Hi there. Brilliant cartoon. But I think you missed out the Mongolians, my history texts told me they went all the way to Europe…

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